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Brokers have a duty to warn buyers about pollution levels – The Mortgage Hut

by: Nicola Arbon, managing director at The Mortgage Hut
  • 01/11/2019
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When determining house prices, emphasis is usually placed on the quality of local schools, transport links, local amenities, connectivity, the neighbourhood and crime levels.


Although not a new concept, people are increasingly prioritising environmental conditions, including pollution, when looking to move to a new house or buy a first home.

In fact, research suggests that house prices can reduce by as much as 15 per cent in high pollution areas.

The HomeOwners Alliance found that nearly 40 per cent of homeowners believe that air quality is a contributing factor to their wellbeing.

With the recent demonstrations and activity on climate change following the UN Climate Action Summit, attention and awareness regarding environmental issues is increasing.


Affect resale value

As people become more aware about the effects of pollution, homeowners, property investors and house buyers must seriously consider and monitor pollution levels around their prospective homes because these will likely affect the future resale value.

And it is possible that property listings will soon be required to include information on air pollution by law.

Research by the Royal College of Physicians says that 40,000 lives are lost a year due to dirty air and it costs £20 billion in healthcare and business impact.

It is therefore crucial that property developments consider the impact of air pollution when homeowners move in and consider the increase in vehicle traffic, people and other environmental factors.


What to look out for

The pollutants that affect air-quality the most are carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide and nitrogen oxide and particulate matter.

The Guardian recently reported that most urban areas in the UK have illegal levels of nitrogen dioxide pollution, produced primarily by diesel vehicles.

Particulate matter comes from exhausts and the wear down of brakes and tyres.

A large proportion of particulate pollution is attributed to diesel vehicles because their engines produce microscopic bits of soot and particulates from the combustion process.

Oxides of nitrogen are also produced from vehicles and can cause respiratory problems and affect lung function.

Burning fuel is the main cause of carbon monoxide. Its main effect is reducing the blood’s capacity to carry oxygen around the body thus restricting oxygen supply to critical organs.


Inform and highlight

As home buyers continue to expand their knowledge and criteria when choosing where to live, it is important that those in the industry take the lead to inform and highlight issues that could affect house prices to include pollution levels.

We will no doubt soon have this as a legal criteria much like energy efficiency.

By getting ahead of the game, industry leading firms must act quickly ahead of any proposed legislation and be a catalyst for change.


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